BGF has taken a minority stake in Aberdeen-based oilfield technology firm isolat8 after ploughing £3.5 million into the business to support its long-term growth plans.
Isol8’s management team, led by Andrew Louden and Bill Lowry, continue to own a majority stake.
But they now have a sizable sum of cash at their disposal to back up their ambitions, thanks to the UK’s most active investor.
The firm already aims to grow its headcount by 50% over the next 12 months. It currently has 10 employees and a consultant on its payroll.
This funding round will support an exceptional management team in completing the final push to commercial adoption.”
Richard Pugh, BGF.
Some of BGF’s investment will be used to develop isol8’s zero-emissions product portfolio and expand its services into the wellbore construction sector.
It is estimated the successful deployment of isol8’s technology could unlock savings of up to £7m for platform and subsea well abandonments.
This could translate into savings of as much as £5 billion in North Sea oil and gas decommissioning costs.
Isol8 – founded in 2017 – is believed to be the only company to use underwater soldering to create metallurgically bonded alloy barriers to seal off oil and gas wells.
Mr Louden, the firm’s chief executive, said: “Decommissioning is now a huge focus in the North Sea and we’re partnering with clients to help them significantly reduce their asset retirement costs.
“Now, with the support of BGF, we are in a strong position to broaden our zero-emission product portfolio and accelerate the production of new products.”
He added: “The BGF team fully understands and supports our vision, and their expertise and business knowledge will be invaluable as we embark on this next chapter together.”
170 years of experience and counting
Isol8’s seven-strong UK team boasts 170 years of oilfield experience, including 61 in downhole tool design.
The firm’s research and development team is based in Port Townsend, in the US state of Washington.
As part of the investment deal, BGF’s Richard Pugh will join the board of isol8 as a director.
Nigel Avern, the former chief CEO of Peak Well Systems, which he grew and led through its sale to Schlumberger, is also joining the board as an independent director.
Mr Avern previously spent 18 years with Expro Group working in a range of marketing, technical and general management roles.
Mr Pugh, an investor in BGF’s Aberdeen office, said: “Isol8 has huge potential to use its cutting-edge Fusion technology to generate very large savings in plug and abandonment and intervention operations – both of which are markets where we expect long-term growth and where Aberdeen continues to have world-leading expertise.
“Fusion provides the industry with a much lower emission solution than cement, going some way to address the long-term challenge of decarbonising the sector.
“This funding round will support an exceptional management team in completing the final push to commercial adoption, working in parallel with a number of operators who have shown real commitment to the technology.
“We are also delighted that Nigel Avern has joined the board to bring his own experience of building successful energy technology businesses.”
BGF, formerly the Business Growth Fund, was set up by leading banks in 2011 and has to date invested £2.5bn in more than 400 companies.
It invests in growing businesses in the UK and Ireland through its network of 16 offices, including one in Aberdeen.